TechEnglish is an initiative from a team of UPM staff to foster content and language integrated learning at UPM.
TechEnglish 1: Supporting the internationalization of the UPM’s academic offer.
Coordinator: Jon Iñaqui Lizaso
The general objective of TechEnglish 1 is to contribute to the impulse of the “Internationalization of the academic offer Plan” for the entire UPM. For this purpose, the following specific objectives were defined:
1.1 Designing a plan to foster EMI at the UPM
1.2 Identifying administrative and organisational difficulties for EMI at proposing solutions.
1.3 Suggest measures for encouraging the academic offer’s visibility for subjects in English.
1.4 Diffusing the objectives and the results of the project.
1.1 Designing a Plan to foster EMI at the UPM
Unlike other universities that have been working for several years in the internationalization process, the UPM still doesn’t have a EMI strategy – also known in other universities as Bilingualism or , Multilingualism. – . This Plan is the key for an academic offer in English, especially for the undergraduate degree programs. We believe this is indispensable to materialize the International Semester (Arrangement 102) and the unique shared curriculum (arrangement 103); suggested in the K Plan for the Internationalization of the degree programs for the Educative Model of the UPM.
We would take into account both successful experiences of other universities and our own university’s characteristics in order to design the Plan for English Medium Instruction. This plan will be used as a reference framework to canalise in an effective way the effort made until now. It will use a participative approach, including all the sections of Madrid’s Educational Community (Vicerectorate, directive staff of the Technique Schools, Research and teaching staff, Administrative staff as well as students’ representatives).
1.2 Identifying administrative and organisational difficulties of EMI implementation and proposing solutions.
Several difficulties have been detected for the establishment of EMI thanks to the information collected in the Agro-English project and the previous experiences from the UPM. Some of them are related to the recognition of English teaching to the department, as well as teachers and students, the choice of language of the student, the adjustment of the enrolment system, the subjects’ splitting and the timetable adjustment, the lack of referential procedures and trained staff, etc. These difficulties need to be better identified in order to establish effective and achievable solutions so we will search new solutions adapted to our necessities with the help of previous successful experiences of other universities.
1.3 Suggest measures for encouraging English academic offer’s visibility
The lack of visibility towards the English academic offer is one of the shortcomings detected by the Agro-English project, not only in our university but also in others. There is no doubt that this fact reduces the appealing power that English teaching could have on national students as well as international. This is the reason why the visibility of prestigious universities will be analysed to suggest measures for adaptation to UPM.
1.4 Diffusing the project and its results
The spreading of the projects’ results in Madrid’s Community is an essential part to stimulate the teaching internationalization process in the UPM. Therefore in first place a TechEnglish spot will be created in Moodle. A project’s website will also be created to see its progress and its results by including materials and links of interest. The possibility of using social networks will be studied as well for the diffusion process. To accomplish all these, it will be necessary to design and develop appropriate technological tools. Additionally, there will be other diffusion actions to show the project’s results in Conferences, Seminars, etc.
TechEnglish 2: Designing and implementing internationalization Plan for the educational offer in technical schools – the case of the School of Civil Engineering. (ETSI Caminos, Canales y Puertos) -.
The technical school of Civil Engineering has been a pioneer in the UPM of the start-up of teaching in English in bachelor studies. At the present time it is the only Technical School in the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid that has a curriculum –Graduate in Materials Engineering- that teaches a whole year (third year) through English for the past three years. The positive results of this experience, along with the strong internationalization in the building sector and public works in the last years, have made that this Technical School see the designing of a strategy to support teaching in English and the internationalization as a priority. . The design and implementation of this strategy are the objectives of this subproject 2, which will serve as pilot project for other institutions of the university.
2.1 Support measures for teachers and Administrative staff
- Support programme for staying abroad in international institutions to young teachers and administrative staff making use of the ERASMUS grants and even generating an own programme.
- Support for the preparation of teaching material in English with Teaching assistants.
- Organize workshops for teachers: our task is not so much the “technical” design of these workshops that corresponds to the Language Department (objective 3 of the project), but to design conditions (timetable, place, etc.) that teachers would find appealing to at their disposal.
- Invitation of international teachers for teaching support: being aware of the effort that will be required to the UPM’s teachers to face this course’s teaching, the Technical School will try to support this task by inviting international teachers to collaborate with us. Furthermore, we consider that the presence of international instructors constitutes an enriching experience for both students – that would experiment different teaching methods – and teachers – that will need to coordinate and will share experiences, teaching methods and evaluation techniques with teachers of other cultures -.
2.2 Supporting measures for the student body
- Supporting measures for UPM’s students enrolled in EMI subjects. We consider transmitting to our students the additional value that represents the effort required to develop the English teaching programme of primary importance. In this sense, we have planned to organise activities that will allow them to receive the feedback of older students and companies about the importance of this in the professional world.
- Supporting measures for international students that come to the UPM to study in English. The presence of these students is new for us (up to now we assumed that international students came to study in Spanish). This is the reason why it is necessary to take steps to facilitate their integration (English websites, information in English about the services in the Technical School, etc.) In this subproject we will especially work to design a reception system using social networks and buddies support (local students that will help these students), just like other American universities have, in order to minimise the problems of adaptation to the UPM for exchange students and to allow their fast insertion into the classes.
2.3 International re-enforcement at an international level
- Visibility and diffusion of the offer: edition of multimedia material, participation in international fairs and meetings and actions to recruit international students.
- Collaboration about the academic offer in the UPM. In this subproject we count with the participation of teachers of two Technical Schools related with this sector (Arquitectura y Edificación) that are also working in the development of EMI. . The final objective is to obtain synergies with this collaboration, from the point of view of teachers’ support as well as improving and making the academic offer of teaching in English in the UPM more visible.
2.4 Sustainability for the international strategy
Making the international strategy sustainable, we consider also to be of primary importance. . For this matter, the search for ways of collaboration with companies and foundations of this sector is essential. We shall not forget that, in the building sector, as it has been initially said, the internationalization of companies is a fact. This is why these companies are perfectly aware of the benefits and the need to work in this direction.
TechEnglish 3: Design and implement a training programme with English contents for teachers.
An essential aspect for the English academic offer’s re-enforcement in the UPM lies in the formation of the involved teachers. TechEnglish 3 does not only pretend to design a training programme for the teachers that will give classes in English, but also their start-up, follow-up and personal assessment. The responsibility of this task will lie on linguist experts: teachers from de Departamento de Lingüística Aplicada a la Ciencia y a la Tecnología (Applied Linguistics to Science and Technology Department) of the UPM. In order to assist the English teachers in this endeavour, a series of teaching assistants have been selected. These teaching assistants will be trained and mentored by those experts. These assistants will become interns in the project and must be UPM’s bilingual English students or nearly with a C2 English level. The language assistants’ function will consist in helping content teachers to improve their English’s skills. For this reason, TechEnglish3 tries to establish a fostering programme to improve the content teachers’ language level through a pilot project, evaluating their performance and its possible start-up. We could highlight that this model has a more conventional part that consists on an initial methodological and linguistic formation for the teachers. However, its strength and innovation relays on its personalised approach: there will be a personal training programme based on specific diagnosis of each person’s needs.
3.1 Initial training for teachers on English contents
- Approach to English Medium instruction (EMI) methodology: courses and materials
- Give lessons in English
- Teaching resources to help students/teachers: guides and teaching material
3.2 Personalized diagnosis of the teachers' training needs
3.3 Designing and implementing of personalized training programs emphasizing methodological and linguistic aspects
3.4 Design and implementation of a follow-up plan and personal assessment
- Orientated to the English skills developed by the content teachers
- Orientated to the students’ achievement during English teaching
People Task 1.1